SPRING ARBOR — St. Joseph was able to defeat a lot of strong teams on its way to a very successful girls soccer season. Perennial state power Gull Lake was not one of them.
The Bears’ season came to an end with a 4-1 loss to the Blue Devils in Tuesday’s Division 2 regional semifinal. St. Joseph (13-4-2) suffered three of its four losses to Gull Lake.
“The collective whole of the season is amazing,” St. Joseph coach Chris Froelich said. “Thirteen wins, against the teams that we play, in the conference we play in, only four losses, that’s really good stuff. We’re really excited about our finish at conference, how we did in districts, and the young players we have coming forward.”
Gull Lake (17-2-1) quickly put an end to St. Joseph’s upset hopes, scoring three times in the first eight minutes.
“We knew that we had to come out strong against St. Joe,” Gull Lake coach Jeff Corstange said. “They’re a good team, they’re going to be contenders to deal with for the next couple years. To play a team three times in one year, we knew we had to go out there and we had to battle. We knew we were going to have to score first to throw them off their game a little bit.”
A corner kick by Rosie Wisser went in just 2:24 into the game, and Reagan Wisser added another goal less than two minutes later. The Bears compounded their problems with an own goal at the 7:30 mark.
“You spot them one goal and you’re going to have a hard time,” Froelich said. “Lots of credit to them, they were ready to go on that first whistle and they got some finishes there.”
St. Joseph answered midway through the first half when Mackenzie Hoecherl took a well-played through ball from Elle Pavlopoulos and slotted it into the far corner to trim the Gull Lake lead to 3-1.
“We really liked some of our matchups with our attackers on their outside defenders, and that’s exactly where that production came from,” Froelich said. “We slipped one in past them on the outside, and we get a great finish. Now we know that we can do it at this level.”
The deficit was two for less than a minute, however, as Reagan Wisser added her second goal on a breakaway.
“She’s just a pure athlete,” Corstange said. “She’s a goal scorer. She finishes, she’s strong, she knocks people off the ball. She just knows how to put the ball in the back of the net.”
The remainder of the game was more even, and Froelich saw plenty of positives.
“The second half was so much better than the first half,” Froelich said. “If we start like that, maybe we get a different result, maybe we don’t. Either way, these seniors for this group, they set a precedent that this is the level we should be playing at. We should be competing at this regional level or higher all the way forward.”
Gull Lake 4, St. Joseph 1
Goals — Gull Lake: Reagan Wisser 2, Rosie Wisser, SJ own goal. St. Joseph: Mackenzie Hoecherl.
Assists — Gull Lake: Vanessa Scheel. St. Joseph: Elle Pavlopoulos.
Shots on goal — Gull Lake 13, St. Joseph 3.
Saves — Gabby Bennecke (GL) 2, Cailynn Junk (SJ) 9.
Halftime — Gull Lake 4-1. Records — Gull Lake 17-2-1, St. Joseph 13-4-2.
Contact: bsanders@TheHP.com, 429-1294, @HPBenSanders